In South Africa, the attorney for Jacob Zuma, the newly elected president of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party has described as improper news that his client would soon be charged for corruption. This comes after the national prosecutor announced in a radio interview that there is enough evidence for him to make the decision on when to take action against Zuma. Michael Hulley questioned the timing of the announcement, saying state resources are being used against his client.
From Johannesburg, Hulley tells reporter Peter Clottey that the graft charges against Zuma are both trump up charges and politically motivated.
“The only thing I can say is that previously there has been similar pronouncement by predecessors of the National Prosecuting Authority. And I would have thought they would have learned some lessons about making public pronouncements when it comes to prosecuting certain individuals. I think it’s improper that you pronounce it in public before you take any action. That is the only comment I can make at this stage,” Hulley pointed out.
He said the defense team is ready to defend Jacob Zuma of all the charges leveled against him in the court of law.
“There is no level of preparedness that one can have. Obviously, we are aware broadened in terms of the charges that he intends bringing against Mr. Zuma, and in that context we will fight whatever happens. But the fact of the matter is I think the prosecution authority has a certain responsibility acting properly. And in our view if they continue to make pronouncements in the public domain I think it calls into question whether that is proper conduct on their part,” he opined.
Hulley maintained that the charges leveled against his client are politically motivated.
“Absolutely so, and I think that we’ve always made the case in so far as the timing of the charges are concern as incisive as to whether those are politically motivated or otherwise,” Hulley noted.
He said circumstances surrounding the whole investigation about Zuma’s alleged involvement in graft activities are questionable.
“I don’t want to bore you with the details, but the fact of the matter is that Mr. Zuma has been the subject of an investigation for the past eight years. And at the time that the Prosecuting Authority tried to prefer the charges against him, they found out that they were not in a position to do so… you must acknowledge that in any democratic society that that would a period during which the prosecution would be allowed to garner evidence against an individual. In most circumstance, it must lead to a credible view that in those circumstances those charges are motivated by improper motifs,” he said.
Hulley said many South Africans should be worried about how Zuma has continuously been treated.
“I think that’s the point that has always been made. That the acts that are in dispute are not only peculiar to Mr. Zuma, but to other individuals who may be don’t have the resources that he has, and that in other individuals who might find themselves at the other end of the prosecuting authority. This is in a way setting a precedent for how the Prosecuting Authority must act in these circumstances, and to hold it up to scrutiny as to see whether it is proper or improper,” Hulley noted.
President Thabo Mbeki sacked Jacob Zuma as deputy president over graft charges in 2005. But supporters of Zuma say the charges against him are trump up charges. The case against Zuma was withdrawn last year, but the National Prosecuting Authority has been gathering new evidence and fresh charges have reportedly been expected for some time.